Will I Stay or Will I Go?
After preparing your home for bushfire and well before a bushfire breaks out, you should decide whether you will leave early or stay and defend your home if a fire threatens. Preparing a bushfire survival plan will help you decide.
Before making a decision, consider the following principles:
• the safest option is always to leave early rather than to stay and defend,
• not all homes are defendable in all circumstances and you are advised to undertake an individual assessment of the defendability of your home,
• unless a property is defendable you should leave early,
• you should consider the impact of topography, fire weather and fire intensity on the defendability of your home. Your home may be defendable when the fire danger rating is say, ‘very high’, but undefendable when the fire danger rating is say, ‘severe’.
• the risks of staying to defend include the risk of physical injury and death,
• contingencies are needed as the best-made plans may fail, and
• even if you plan to stay, you should make preparations to leave, including the preparation of ‘emergency kits' specifying the location of community fire refuges and other places you may go to.
You should also consider the psychological impacts of staying to defend your home. It is inadvisable for children to be present during the defence of properties, and practical steps are needed to protect the vulnerable. Families with young children, older people, and disabled people should plan to leave early. You should appreciate the dangers of leaving late, and understand that a warning may not be received.
Staying to protect a properly prepared home against most bushfires is a safe option for physically and mentally fit people.
However, Tasmania Fire Service recommends that you should not plan to defend your home when the fire danger rating exceeds 50 (severe) in your area unless you have created a defendable space and ember-proofed your home.
Regardless of how well prepared your home may be, leaving early may also be the better option for young children, elderly or disabled people, people who are not physically fit, and people who do not feel comfortable about staying.
PEOPLE SHOULD NOT FLEE AT THE LAST MINUTE.
If you're going to defend your home and are likely to be away when a bushfire breaks out, you need to have a means of learning about the fire. When bushfires are likely to break out, you should regularly monitor the TFS website Current Bushfires and Incidents, or the emergency broadcaster ABC Local Radio, and have made plans for returning home.
These Tasmanian homes are well prepared for bushfire